Editorial: Bifurcation of Andhra Is No Solution

…the whole Telangana issue is neglect-of-backward-castes-turned-into-neglect-of-region. KCR had met central leaders before going on his fast-unto-death. A practical approach by the Centre at that point of time could have prevented his fast as well bifurcation of the state. Smaller-unit-well-governed principle isn’t workable until root causes of inefficacy of administration are solved…

Though technically correct, and belated, Centre’s decision to concede separate Telangana state has resulted in what was feared: a strong backlash and similar demands by other separatists. It is a universally accepted notion that smaller states are easy to administer and key to satiate local dissidence. That was the guiding principle behind earlier carved out states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Uttaranchal. Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh presents similarities to previously created states in that it is economically backward and there is dissimilarity of development in three different regions of Andhra Pradesh – Telanganae, Rayalseema and coastal Andhra Pradesh. TRS created the movement on the slogan that the region is victimized of ‘conspiracy of neglect’. There were palpable reasons of imbalance in development of three different regions of the state. Telangana suffered most because of Naxalism and feudalism prevalent there. On the top of it, successive governments in Andhra Pradesh didn’t pay enough attention to imbalance in progress. So separation became inevitable. However, a large number of politicians have been traditionally against bifurcation of the state, those from coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalseema, arguing that it will adversely affect prosperity of the state as a whole and why a state speaking the same language – Telugu – should be split. Bifurcations in the past were on linguistic grounds. Demands of separatists as well as concerns of those opposed to separate Telangana have merit, indicating that separation that the Centre agreed to solely for steering clear of current political dilemma is, in fact, no solution. There’re better ways to do away with regional imbalances.

There’s a caste pattern to the development of Andhra. Reddys and Kammas have been powerful castes in Andhra Pradesh and they hail from coastal region and Rayalseema. Backward castes of the state belong mostly to Telangana. Congress and TDP – the two biggest parties of the state – are represented by Reddys and Kammas, while, until Chiranjeevi founded Praja Rajyam Party, there were no other outfit except TRS which was represented by backward classes. Seeing in this light, the whole Telangana issue is a story of neglect of caste and thus neglect of region. Had the Congress and the TDP realized this earlier and given better representation to backward people from Telangana in their party and in government bodies, a demand for a separate state, which is destined to lower economic growth of the state, can  be avoided. The fact that TRS chief K Chandresehar Rao almost resurrected his political career on the issue bears testimony to it. In this case, bifurcation of the state also presents the unprecedented dilemma to which part the state capital Hyderabad goes, for it falls in Telangana region. TRS claims it. While rest of the Andhra is not ready to forgo it, for a large number of people from coastal region and Rayalseema have been living there for long.

KCR, as he is famously known as, had met central leaders before going on his fast-unto-death. A practical approach by the Centre even at that point of time could have prevented his fast as well bifurcation of the state. True, the US, despite having much less population than ours, has 50 states for the purpose of better governance. In India, which is a developing country, this way of good governance may not work until root causes of inefficacy of administration are sorted out. On the other hand, it has led to demands by many separatists for creation of different states. And it has become a political tool for many. They just want to make them politically strong capitalizing on the issue, demand separate state, and then rule it, getting a greater pie in government personally.

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